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Destatis: Organic vegetable harvest significantly increased compared to last year

Slight Increase in vegetable yield

In 2023, approximately 5,970 agricultural operations in Germany harvested a total of 3.9 million tons of vegetables. This was an increase of just over 4% from 2022 and 2% more than the average for the years 2017 to 2022. According to the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis), the area cultivated for vegetables was reduced by 3% to 122,800 hectares compared to 2022. This was 4% less than the average for the years 2017 to 2022.

15% of the total vegetable cultivation area was managed organically
Farms operating organically produced a total of 480,000 tons of vegetables on approximately 18,400 hectares. This represents 15% of the total vegetable cultivation area and 12% of the total harvest. Compared to 2022, the organically managed cultivation area increased by 3% and the corresponding harvest volume by 11%. Compared to the average for the years 2017 to 2022, there was an increase in the organic cultivation area for vegetables by 15% and in the harvest volume by 25%. The more significant increase in harvest volume can also be attributed to the expansion of cultivation of vegetable varieties with a high weight per unit area such as beetroot, onions, zucchini, and carrots.

Carrot harvest volume up by 2%, onions with the largest harvest volume since 2012
In 2023, as in previous years, the largest harvest volume in Germany was achieved with the cultivation of carrots, amounting to approximately 796,700 tons (+ 2% compared to the previous year). The vegetable with the second-largest harvest volume was once again the onion. With 666,300 tons (+15% compared to 2022), the largest harvest volume since 2012 was achieved. In third place, despite a further reduction in cultivation area, was white cabbage with 398,500 tons (+4%), followed by pickling cucumbers with 193,700 tons (+15%) and iceberg lettuce with 121,200 tons (-13%).

In terms of the total outdoor vegetable cultivation area (121,500 hectares), asparagus, very popular in Germany, was once again the most popular vegetable crop with almost 23,900 hectares (-5% compared to 2022), of which 20,400 hectares were productive area (-4%). In second place, as in 2022, were onions with 15,100 hectares (+0.1%) and in third place were carrots on an area of 13,500 hectares. This was followed by white cabbage and edible pumpkins, each with 5,300 hectares (-2% and +10% respectively).

Lettuce cultivation at lowest level since 2012, pumpkins see record values in 2023
The cultivation of almost all types of lettuce has been continuously reduced in Germany in recent years and has now reached its lowest point since 2012 with a cultivation area of 12,600 hectares (-14% compared to 2012) and a harvest volume of 297,400 tons (-29%). Only Romaine lettuce (Romana) has gained in popularity: Its harvest volume has more than doubled from 22,300 tons in 2012 to 46,800 tons in 2023.

While pumpkins yielded a harvest of 70,000 tons on an area of 2,600 hectares in 2012, their significance for German vegetable cultivation has significantly increased. In 2023, approximately 101,700 tons of edible pumpkins were harvested on an area of 5,300 hectares (+47% compared to 2012). This represents 4% (2012: 2%) of the total vegetable cultivation area and 3% (2012: 2%) of the total harvest.

Two-thirds of the open field vegetable cultivation areas located in four federal states
In total, vegetables were cultivated on approximately 121,500 hectares of open field land in 2023. Thus, the open field cultivation area decreased by 3% compared to 2022. The largest cultivation areas in 2023 were located in North Rhine-Westphalia with just over 26,200 hectares, in Lower Saxony with 22,000 hectares, in Rhineland-Palatinate with 16,900 hectares, and in Bavaria with almost 16,400 hectares. In terms of vegetable cultivation area, asparagus was the most important vegetable in the states of North Rhine-Westphalia, Lower Saxony, and Bavaria, while in Rhineland-Palatinate, radishes were the most significant.

In greenhouses, tomatoes and cucumbers accounted for 83% of the harvest volume
The cultivation of vegetables under high walk-in protective covers, such as in greenhouses or high plastic covers, remained almost constant in 2023 compared to the previous year at just under 1,300 hectares (+0.3%). However, the harvest volume increased by 5% to 203,700 tons. The largest harvest volume in protected cultivation was accounted for by tomatoes with 101,100 tons (-1% compared to 2022). The vegetable with the second-largest harvest volume was the cucumber with 68,800 tons (+17%), followed by bell peppers with just under 16,200 tons (-5%).

Source: Destatis

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